Federal officials announced a $17 million settlement with Lexington Medical Center in West Columbia, South Carolina for violation of Stark Law and the False Claims Act. Though the medical center denied providing financial incentives to physicians in exchange for referrals to hospitals and for medical diagnostic procedures paid by Medicare, investigations into whistleblower allegations of these practices proved otherwise.
In a statement from Lexington Medical Center’s CEO, the hospital agreed to the settlement to avoid a costly trial and expensive legal actions. The president denied any violation to Stark Law or the False Claims Act, and said the case demonstrates how difficult it can be to understand and comply with employment laws for physicians. As part of the settlement agreement, Lexington Medical Center will work with the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Inspector General to analyze and implement changes to its current practices to fully comply with federal laws.
The Whistleblower is Protected in a Qui Tam Action
A former physician employed by Lexington Medical Center made allegations of the violations to Stark Laws and the False Claims Act in a whistleblower lawsuit. The former employee will receive $4.5 million of the $17 million settlement in exchange for the information he provided that led to the successful outcome of the case. Under the False Claims Act, an employee or individual that supplies original information to prosecutors that leads to a successful conclusion of litigation against a company or person that defrauds the government is entitled to a percentage of the monetary award. Federal law also protects the whistleblower from retaliation from the accused.
Lexington Medical Center officials stated that they were happy to resolve the issue and move forward in providing quality care and services to their patients. A spokesperson for the medical center said they are committed to analyzing their internal and external procedures to ensure that they are in full compliance with the law and to avoid similar actions in the future.
Philadelphia Health Care Lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. Provide Counsel in Stark Law Violations
Employment laws in the health care industry are tough to navigate and can result in stiff fines and penalties for violators. The experienced and knowledgeable Philadelphia health care lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates are dedicated to providing physicians with skilled counsel and representation for all their health care legal issues.
Call us at 215-569-1999, or contact us online to schedule a consultation today. Our offices are located in the heart of Philadelphia and we serve clients throughout Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey.